Empathy-Induced Emotional Release

23 Aug

Penny and I are alike in our inability to acknowledge our feelings regarding the occurrences in our own lives. Just got a promotion? Oh, well yeah it’s great but there’s still a lot more I’d like to be accomplishing. Things didn’t work out with that dude? WHATEVER! I have SO MUCH going on and my life is simply too idyllic to waste time on any men. Sixty five hour work week up ahead? Ain’t no thang, I multitask in my sleep. No really, here are my moisturizing gloves.

So every now and then when we realize that maybe we deserve to be a little upset but we still can’t get ourselves to properly emote, we require the use of outside forces more powerful than our own stubborn resilience.

I have my own bank of dependable emotional performance enhancers. Sometimes the situation calls for rereading my favorite Hans Christian Andersen tales, sometimes I find The Green Mile on some cable channel (why is it ALWAYS on?), but last night called for the greatest twenty eight minutes and twenty seconds in network television history. I know it’s terrible now and I know I haven’t watched it in years, and I know audiences everywhere are begging for it to be put out of its misery, but in its first few seasons, The Office was brilliant. And no episode could be better than Casino Night. According to my Nexflix history, I’ve watched this one episode twelve times.

In case you spent 2006 living under a rock, Casino Night is the second season finale, and the first episode written by Steve Carell. His Writers Guild award for best episodic comedy is most deserved, and a handful of Emmys wouldn’t have been unwarranted. Michael Scott, manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin paper supply company, is preparing for the anual Casino Night fundraiser to benefit the Boy Scouts of America. Everyone is excited for the evening’s festivities – not only because there will be plenty of booze but also because Michael accidentally has two dates. Hilarity ensues. During the day, Jim helps Pam look through potential bands for her wedding where she will marry a man who is not Jim, and later they continue flirting as Pam collects all of Jim’s chips at the poker table. When Pam’s deadbeat fiance leaves the party early, Jim finds a moment to confess his feelings to Pam and sheds the manliest man tear in the most touching and real parking lot scene that ever happened. It isn’t a happy ending; they don’t run off and elope or make and grand plans. It’s bittersweet and perfect. I could watch this episode forever.

BECAUSE HAVEN’T WE ALL BEEN THERE? Haven’t we all been completely in love with someone who is tragically unavailable? And don’t we all wish we could have pursued a possibility were it not for Situational Complications? And doesn’t it hurt to hold something inside until we just can’t take it anymore and need to let it out no matter the consequences? And after two heart wrenching seasons of watching Jim watch Pam plan her wedding with meathead Roy, is there anything more gratifying than watching him go all in and turn over his cards? (See what I did there?!)

And while I completely agree with Penny that FOR THE LOVE OF ZEUS someone please write some original television programming!!!!11!!!1! I’m also a giant sucker and love love love when exactly what we want to happen finally happens. Because if what I want isn’t happening IRL it better damn well happen in my primetime sitcoms.


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